Monday, March 30, 2015

Jerameel's Birthday!

This past Friday was Jerameel's 12th birthday!
After church a small group of us went over to her house to celebrate. Maribel, Anahi, and I left together, walking to the house. The whole way all I could do was complain about how I should have changed shoes!! I could not wait to get to the house and sit down! But what was the first the the kids wanted to do when we got there?? Tag! 
Which of course involves running. Ouch. 
As I'm sure you all know and have experienced, kids can be relentless when they want something! And who can resist a gaggle of cute little kiddos begging to play tag?

It amazes me how the kids here are so satisfied with such simple games and relaxed fun. They can laugh and have fun just tossing a ball back and forth for hours, or run around playing tag.

It started raining so we came inside and ate tamales and cake!
This was the funnest group of kids! Especially the boy to the left. He is such an outgoing, outspoken little guy! --He was also my sidekick during tag.-- He loved running after his friends, so every time I got tagged, he would run over to me, hold his hand out expectantly, we'd slap hands and he would go running off happily chasing the other kids. Worked out great for me!!
Ulysses, Jerameel, Jael, and Jera's dad.
Maribel, Anahi, and Ulysses

Bethany and I with Jerameel and Ana Belen

The girls and I

As we were headed out the door, I stopped to talk to Ulysses. I asked him, "When are you going to visit us in Sunday school??" He replied very intelligently, "At Tabernaculo de Victoria?" This made me think, wow! he already knows where the church is so maybe he'll come!! .... 

I tell him yes and he exclaims dramatically "Ach! Yo soy catolico!" (I'm catholic!!)
HAHA. Man... they train 'em young here! Somehow this little 7 year old is already blindly entrenched in the traditions of his family. Not many kids of this age are so vocal about their religion... Imagine if he would have been raised in an Apostolic church, with this attitude! 
I pray that one day he and his family come to church!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Concha and Beans - Don't Do It

Our favorite little breakfast restaurant came out with a new item on their menu. A piece of pan dulce (sweet bread) called a Concha, with beans and cheese in the middle. The contrast between sweet and salty sounded interesting to me so I ordered it. 
I don't have much to say because it was pretty non-amazing. I like beans, I like conchas. And while I like both feet and cheese, I prefer one to not smell like the other!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

You Little Rat!

For the past few weeks we've been struggling with a mouse in the house. Mouse in the school, actually. School and church. One day at the end of lunch, I saw it run from the Sunday school room into the kitchen. The boys were all gung-ho about catching it and didn't have an ounce of fear in them. So we shut ourselves in the kitchen and tried to catch it...with no luck. He was too fast! They had sticks and the oldest even had a solid piece of a tree trunk that was made into a cutting board - ready to drop on the mouse's tiny body as he ran by. It was an ingenious concept, but didn't work. 

We've never had a mouse problem - only recently because our neighbors across the street have been digging up their field. 

We ended up buying a sticky trap. It sat in the kitchen on the floor for a couple of weeks till one morning, I walked into the church kitchen and saw movement out of the corner of my eye. There it was, it all its pitiful glory. I 'bout jumped out of my skin! 

He looks cute, and I did feel bad for him. However, justice was served. One night after getting home late, we were unloading groceries from the car. I look up and see a tall, blonde, white-skinned young man walking down my street, and by his side was a Mexican guy. Both well-dressed and wearing back packs. Yep, you guessed it - Mormons! Normally this wouldn't excite me much, but hello! ENGLISH SPEAKER...and not of my own family! Whenever we see these guys, we stop to talk to them - they usually are about as homesick as we are and eager to chat!

I hollered across the street, "Hi!!" and they looked over, surprised. Just as surprised as we were I am sure because after all, we are in the poor ole sticks of Mexico - you don't see tourists here. They come over, big smiles on their faces and riiiiiiight as I stick my hand out to shake theirs and introduce myself...........THIS MOUSE RUNS RIGHT BETWEEN US. Of course, I shriek. They look a little startled and I say something like, "Oh, heh heh...sorry. We've been having a mouse problem lately..." And I stumble through the story about our neighbors...

So even thought his poor little face is smashed into the sticky goo of the trap....I am glad he is gone. I don't have to sit at my desk with my feet elevated off the ground anymore. That got a little uncomfortable.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday School

Yesterday we had a great Sunday school class! There are Sundays where everyone is participating and the teachers are prepared and know what they are supposed to do... The kids are excited and have brought visitors... Candy bags are made and ready to go - yesterday was one of those days! We had a good group of kids and three new visitors. 
Sis. Marisol teaching on being persistent in prayer

Little princesses
It was so funny - last week in the Sunday school meeting everyone was deciding what job they were going to take. Bro. Valentin piped up excitedly and informed everyone that it was his turn to teach the lesson. He was put down on the schedule to do so, but a few minutes later, while skimming the lesson, he suddenly burst into laughter. He has a fairly booming voice so the Sunday school meeting came to a bit of a halt when he exclaimed, "Awwww man! I gotta wear my pajamas while I teach!" Too bad Bro. Valentin - you already called it! :)
Angry bird pajama pants :)

The lesson was called "A Visitor in the Night" 

The boys working on their craft

The girls working on their craft

Dad and I having a "great minds think alike" moment

Nicole giving out prizes to the kids that have the most points. (They earn points by bringing visitors, memorizing verses, etc.)

And I'll close with this picture of Jack. This is what he did for most of the preaching - hung half of his body out the window and stared at people in the congregation. Fortunately, this is Mexico. Things like this don't really faze the people. We had a great service anyhow!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Minister's Meeting

A few weeks ago Elder Wakefield's church hosted a ministers meeting for the pastors and ministry that work within a reasonable driving distance of Puebla. Abner very bravely volunteered to make the food for lunch. Pork, no less. I would've been terrified to have that responsibility on my shoulders alone, especially with it being pork. Having been pork-poisoned once, the meat scares me to death. One wrong move and you've got worms eating your brains out. 
And no one to blame but Abner! HA. 

But anyways, apparently Abner is "totes profesh" because the pork meat turned out great, as did the beans, tortillas, salsas, and guacamole. I think we all left pretty impressed. 

When we arrived, he was outside with a giant vat of bubbling oil. I volunteered to help so he graciously let me sprinkle the magic sugar potion into the ominous pig fare. 

I'd tell you what the potion is, but I'm not sure if it's a secret. 
Once the meeting started, us kids made ourselves scarce. Nicole and I went upstairs to relax and have a nice chat. This ended in Nicole choking on her tea and spitting it all over the floor - thus the mop.

Pastor Cortez (yes, that's what the people call him here since they can't pronounce "Curtis") teaching. 

Little girl...she missed her paper and drew all over the back of her hands - lol! 

Praying for the ministers

After a couple sessions of teaching, it was time to eat. Abner got to chopping the meat and divvying it up while Nicole and I set it out on the tables. 
Like I said, the food turned out great. But most importantly, we had a move of the Holy Ghost in the minister's sessions and I think everyone left very grateful that they had made the effort to come.
This meeting was so uplifting and the ministers and wives left refocused on their callings to the people of Mexico! 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Daddio's Day

Monday was Dad's birthday...we celebrated three times throughout the weekend! On Saturday we went to a Brazilian steakhouse - as always, it was quite an experience and we left totally stuffed. 

Grammers and Grampers

They give you these little wooden blocks that you are supposed to flip back and forth to signal if you want meat brought to you or not. We were hungry, hungry so we figured stacking all of our blocks on top of each other might get the meat man's attention! 

The good stuff...

Austin looks like he's contemplating whether or not he wants this measly chicken or if he should wait on a juicy steak... 

On Monday, a family in our church brought over a cake and we made a birthday dinner together for him. It was so sweet! 

Then last night after prayer meeting, the church surprised him with a party. We had a good ole time.

Happy birthday, Dad. We love you!!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sunday School Street Kids

This is Luis.
 He's really beginning to take up a special place in my heart. His life story is a sad one, but he has such a sweet personality and always comes into Sunday school with a big smile on his face. 

He lives close to Sis. Rocio and comes to Sunday school with her and her kids.

On his first Sunday ever, the announcement was made that all the new visitors with a star on their name tag could come pick a prize out of the treasure chest! Luis looked down at his name tag, and his face lit up when he saw that he had a silver star next to his name! I'll never forget the look of pure joy, excitement, and also a little uncertainty as he looked at me and pointed to himself as if to say "Me? Can I really?". He went to pick out his toy, and as he happily returned to his seat he caught my eye, once again seeking approval. It's as if he thought he was dreaming and was waiting for someone to pinch him! :)

Many of our Sunday school kids roam the streets either with no parents at all, or parents who just don't care what these little ones do. 
This is part of the group of "street kids" that come to Pasos Grandes. The little girl wearing the pink hat is the "Tia" (Aunt) of all of children in this picture. Paola is a good little aunt, and takes good care of all of her charges.
 This little 4 year old is Josue. He usually shows up with his Tia Paola...

A couple of Sundays ago, as Valentin and I were getting ready for Sunday school, we found this baby sitting on the front step all alone. He was there more than an hour early for class!
He can barely talk, but I was able to get out of him that he walked here alone, but yes, his family knew that he was at church! (A lie.) Stinker haha.
I popped a sucker in his mouth and sat him down to draw. I continued working and waited for someone to come searching for their little son. No one came looking for him... Finally his little Aunt Paola showed up with her group of chillens. But no one was worried for this little guy. From what I gathered no one even noticed his absence. Such a worrisome thought, But I'm glad he made it to church.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to spend every Sunday with these kiddos and 
 I pray that we are able to have an eternal impact on their lives!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Marshmallows & Jenga

A couple of the girls came over the other day to make homemade marshmallows and have a little fun. They pulled out Jenga - one of their favorite games.

A very tense situation :)

Mari pouring the marshmallows

Sprinkling the powdered sugar

Later on the night I sat down to eat dinner and the game was still on the table. Mom and I started to play back and forth when all of a sudden............
The blocks collapsed right into my Pipian Verde! 

Jenga a la Mexicana! 

My recommendation would be to not play and eat....


Friday, March 6, 2015

Roses from Adelina

Just a couple cute pictures of Nicole buying roses from our neighbor...

Beatrice loves to come to Sunday school! 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Just a Day in the Life

Bro. Valentin has been teaching in our Bible class every other week. He is doing an awesome job! He has led a pretty interesting life so he always is coming up with great illustrations for the kids. More than a few times he's made me and Nicole's eyes almost pop out of our heads. 
We should start a new series on the blog called "Stories from Valentin" - Ha! 

Prayer time

It can get pretty cold in the church during the day - I have been enjoying my hot tea more than ever! 

At least once a week we play English-Spanish bingo. There's a hundred cards with English words and pictures in the game and the boys have almost all of them memorized. Just from playing this and practicing once a week!!

We are so proud of our boys - they are doing such a good job learning English and in their other studies as well. We will be moving to the new school in a short while so you can look forward to a post on that! The building project is almost done!!!


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